How to make a long story short
Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. One can’t underestimate the power of storytelling. From the beginning of time, knowledge was shared from generation to generation thanks to storytellers who used their artistry to pass on information, knowledge, and wisdom to their community. While ancient storytellers probably had rather limited repertoires, a problem today is information overload. With all the data and information that is available, it can be difficult to extricate useful lessons from all the stories that are out there. This article is my attempt to help declutter your mind and make a long story short.
Cutting long stories short, from the beginning of time
From the beginning of human history, our ancestors’ primary concern came from the necessity to survive. Back then, our ancestors had evolved sufficient intelligence to allow them to understand their environment, sense when changes of climate became less favorable, and when necessary, to migrate in order to find more hospitable lands. Our ancestors developed tools for hunting resulting in the introduction of meat to their diet which was a key factor in their physical development and their ability to move away from the familiar plant species they used to rely on for nutrition.
Our ancestors’ Quest was to find food was made easier by utilizing the resources they had available (i.e., the tools they invented) and the improved physical capabilities of their bodies made stronger by their meat diet. Human interaction and community living were practiced from the beginning of time and helped tribes prosper and thrive. Our ancestors’ daily activities and concerns, such as having sufficient resources to survive, a community to interact with and rely on, and an improved diet that enhanced their physical and mental ability, are similar to what motivates us today, i.e., Money, Love, and Health.
Long story short, from the beginning of human history till now, our concerns remain the same i.e. resources/money to survive, love and health.
The accepted theory was that the Earth was flat
For thousands of years, the Earth was thought to be flat. The flat earth society of ancient civilization included the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, and the early Greeks. This belief (and it was a belief, there was no proof of a flat earth) was changed by the Greeks using the scientific method to demonstrate that the Earth was round, even coming up with the first calculation of the Earth’s circumference. The Greeks were pioneers in science, politics, architecture, medicine, and philosophy and are deservedly recognized as the most advanced civilization of their time.
It was Pythagoras1, who in 500 BC provided the earliest arguments as to why the Earth was round; he reached this conclusion by observing the Moon. The Moon, he noted, is a sphere, so it would follow that the Earth is round as well.
Later, it was Aristotle2, (Plato’s3 greatest student) who offered the best explanation for a round Earth. He stated that the Earth was spherical because the position of the stars and constellations seemed to change as a person traveled either North or South. In his book On the Heavens, he wrote:
“Again, our observations of the stars make it evident, not only that the Earth is circular, but also that it is a circle of no great size. For quite a small change of position to south or north causes a manifest alteration of the horizon.”Aristotle
Some travelers, he pointed out, noticed stars and constellations in Egypt and Cyprus unique to their sky. It also pointed out that the Earth must be spherical because of the shape of the Earth’s shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse. In the 2nd century AD the Greek mathematician, astronomer, geographer, and astrologer Ptolemy created a map that portrayed the Earth as being round.
By the 8th century AD, very few people from the civilized world were still arguing that the Earth was flat. Though Europeans and Middle Easterners had recognized the spherical Earth, it wasn’t put to the test until the 15th century, when Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, sailing out of Spain with finances from the Spanish crown. What gave Magellan the confidence to risk his life and the lives of his men to go on an expedition around the world and prove to all that the world was round? His faith lay entirely on a shadow!
“The Church says the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”Magellan
Scientists who, in the early days, ventured to put forward theories different from the accepted theory faced prosecution from the authorities. In 1633, the physicist and astronomer Galileo4 was prosecuted by the Chief Inquisitor appointed by Pope Urban VIII, for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This belief was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church who refused to accept the belief (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. The punishment for Galileo came in the form of the following Order:
“We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of the Holy Office during Our will and pleasure, and as a salutary penance; We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”
Galileo agreed not to teach heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was, in fact, correct and to clear his name of heresy.
“Of all the offspring of time, error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”Charles Mackay
“Long story short the truth is sometimes very inconvenient, leading some people to spend a huge amount of energy and every ounce of power they have to bury it as long as they can.”
For more on these fascinating stories, feel free to check Chapter 1 and 4 of my book “This Is Your Quest”
For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.
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